Janet submitted the following answers in response to questions asked by the League of Women Voters of Howard County, Inc.
What qualifications and experience do you that qualify you for a position on the Board of Education?
Pediatrician, Experienced BOE member since 2007, past Chairman, Vice-Chairman. Over 30 yr resident Howard County. 21 years at Johns Hopkins, Medical Director & Faculty Teaching medical students/physicians. PTA, Volunteer, Demonstrated Leadership in handling BOE responsibilities. Has a Unique perspective, truly understands the “Whole Child”. Advocate for Children, their Education, Health and Future
What do you feel are the most important issues the Board will face in the next 2-3 years?
Student Achievement and Achievement Gaps continue to be the #1 issue in our society. We must ensure that ALL students achieve their academic potential to be Career and College Ready. This can only be achieved with having Highly Effective teachers and staff in our system who are paid competitive salaries and provided resources to succeed. A Diverse staff should represent our student population.
What will need to change in Howard County Schools to comply with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) that was signed into law in December 2015 to guarantee all low income and minority students are taught by qualified teachers?
HCPSS must continue to maintain our high standards and a work force that is Highly Qualified and Highly Effective. The school system must conduct an assessment of local needs for professional development & hiring, & submit a plan to address those needs and monitor data. Look for grant opportunities for recruitment, hiring and retention practices, class size reduction and professional development.
As a Board of Education member, how would you ensure that the public has access to accurate data about the number and reasons for suspensions by race, gender, disability, and sexual identity?
The public should have full access to reported suspension data. As important, is how the data is interpreted and used to make the required changes & necessary improvements. Data must also be used to address the Diversity in our schools & provide training for teachers in helping them make positive changes towards how they approach students in handling challenges in the classroom.
What policies or procedures would you support to respond to citizens’ concerns and complaints?
While Current guidelines are in place for Parental Concerns, awareness seems to be lacking, therefore improvement in responsiveness and accountability is needed. These guidelines should be publicized & streamlined to provide better access through multiple media tools & improve accountability & timely resolution of parental concerns. The Boards Ombudsman can continue to guide and handle disputes.
In an increasingly digital world, how do we provide resources for students who may not have access to computers at home?
Digital equity is a concern and another area to eliminate gaps. Computer access at home is an issue which needs to be addressed. This can be achieved with continued work with county government, non-profits and community groups in eliminating this gap so a student continues to learn at home. Thanks to Bright Minds, the HCPSS education foundation continues to provide computers to families in need.
What should be the role of the School Board members when environmental issues on school property could cause health issues for our students and staff? For example, the recent mold problem at Glenwood Middle School.
Develop an Indoor Environmental Quality Policy for all existing schools & new construction. Accountability of schools & administration to the guidelines provided. The policy should include dissemination of information to all stakeholders & parents in a cooperative manner where the school system involves the community & interested parties in all phases including planning & information distribution.